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Some metal working/finsihing tools advice.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by msalamanca, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. msalamanca
    Joined: May 25, 2011
    Posts: 526


    I have been collecting more tools, which is always fun, but with saving for finishing my car, bills and beer it can be hard to spend top dollar on every tool. Also the less noise they make, the better it will be for my neighbors, and working late.
    So with money tight, I am trying to spend my money where needed.
    So my questions are: decent price with quality results.

    Hand Held shears?
    electric sheet metal shears?
    Tig Welder?
    Body files?
    Also, I was looking at the Lead start up kit on Eastwood, what are some of your thoughts?
    What other are must haves?

    For example, I choose an english wheel over a planishing hammer set up, its less noisy, and recommend over the two.
    Some tools can be redundant, or costly.
    Like I am making my own metal brake, and possibly roller.
    Not looking to be a cheap skate, but put my money towards whats counts.

    Thanks guys,
    I have learned so much from this site, and inspiration.
  2. what is your project? i built a bunch of cars with a basic tool set, 110 mig, two body hammers, a dolly, left and right tin snips and a 4.5" grinder. hard to advise you if we don't know how involved your project is.
  3. lawman
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,665


    Buy the best tool's that your check book will allow. You will never be sorry.
  4. blackrd
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 34

    from Illinoize

    German shears are good but more expensive, robin are the 2 I hve, dont know where you get them now.
    Kett used to be the only electric shears, but Milwaukee has them also at about $150. you can spend alot more (300+ easily) for something that cuts better than the cheaper electric shears.
    lincoln tig, not sure about miller tigs. they hadthe econotig years back that wasnt real great.
    shop around for body files on ebay i spose.
    Eastwood lead is expensive, but jeeze, where else can u get it today?
    Dont use their lead free body solder. Xpensive and need more heat. i got tinners flux in a small bottle, also eastwood solder paste. i dont recommend the paste. Get the tinners flux if you can find it.
    Inmho, not a real good reason to lead nowadays. Body filler isnt the shit it was 30-40 years ago. Some guys (not many left) started in lead and thats what they like, some newer guys just have to try it. body solder repairs are permanent however, where plastic fill is kinda permanent.

  5. pimpin paint
    Joined: May 31, 2005
    Posts: 4,937

    pimpin paint
    from so cal

    Before I paid retail today for tools, I'd start hittin the Golderwest & Vet's stadium swaps regularly. Jus cuz you buy name brands today don't mean you getting the quality of yesterday:( Look for names like Plumb, Plomb Proto, Fairmont & Herbrand, & Heller. The Kett trimmers are good if you can find sharp ones or extra blades.
    I wouldn't buy used mig or tig welders unless you can test drive them. Doin't buy a '' lead kit '' instead make your own. Check out Mercury Metals in Los Angeles for lead & liquid flux can be bought from welding/soldering supply houses.

    " Humpty Dumpty was pushed "
  6. Make some lead dollys. They work great, and actually do reduce the noise a bit.
  7. rouye56wingnut
    Joined: Jan 14, 2008
    Posts: 352

    from mn.

    Only a rich man can afford cheap tools (hes constantly buying)There are alot of good quality tools on Craigs list that you can see and inspect . Many feel bad about taking advantage of someone down on there luck , but someone is going to purchase them , why not let it be you .
  8. 29Jay
    Joined: Aug 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,101

    from Ft Worth

    I built my car this way... every one kept asking where my compressor was... where my big tool box was... and don't forget the pawn shop... they have tools for cheap too...
  9. mitchell tannahill
    Joined: Nov 11, 2012
    Posts: 46

    mitchell tannahill
    from CHICAGO

  10. Amd you can sometimes talk em down,or the bundle way.
  11. falconsprint63
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,359

    from Mayberry

    shrinker/stretcher. man I use the snot out of that for fab work--no noise especially compared to using a hammer to cold shrink
  12. el diablo
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 229

    el diablo
    from Norco CA

    What's up man!

    Sounds like your going down the same road I'm on. I do have lots of cheap tools and a few good ones. The project or task at hand will dictate what tool you need when. I found myself buying something after I had done something and said to myself ... Damn That would have been a hell of a lot easier if I had... Insert tool here.

    Lots of good advise up top but even cheep tools get expensive when you need all of them. Some of my must haves are. My miller mig, e wheel, shrinker stretcher, bead roller and brake. I wish I had a stomp shear, finger brake or magnetic brake would be even better.

    Had and sold a plasm cutter, have electric shears but I don't really use they are not the good ones. Had a scratch start tig sold that too. Have slip roll but two pieces of pipe welded together works in a pinch. (Made both my rockers that way)

    Buy the best tool you can afford. You can always sell and upgrade as you go. I bought a bead roller on Cl built a stand out of free stuff I had laying around, used it for a few years and got my money back when I sold it to up grade.
  13. 41GASSER
    Joined: Aug 2, 2009
    Posts: 188


    Start with the basics:

    High & low crown quality hammers and assortment of dollys used is fine but buy quality stuff once.

    A set of left and right Wiss hand shears. A kett shear is very handy.

    Whitney #5 hand punch.

    110 wirefeed & auto dark helmet. Avoid flux core use .023 wire for most body repairs.

    36" or larger finger brake if you buy chinese it will flex on longer parts or 18-16 gauge. BUY american made stuff if you can.

    Shrinker stretcher

    Good air compressor 5 HP or larger with a good water trap!!!!

    Air angle grinder, air saw, air chisel, HVLP gun with 1.7 and 1.2 tips.

    A plasma cutter is pricey but can replace a shear and takes less space in the garage.

    This is what I believe will get you very well on the road to build a rod and you can make good money doing the same for others. Post some photos of your build. My .02

  14. wingedexpress
    Joined: Dec 24, 2006
    Posts: 894


    A good oxy/acetylene torch to weld and heat.
    a few good hammers,slapper,files and dollies.
    good aviation snips and an electric shear.
    A good imagination as a lot of stuff can be used to shape metal.
  15. fordcragar
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 3,179

    from Yakima WA.

    If you buy good quality tools they will always be worth something. The cheap tools will have little value. As was mentioned, swap meets are a good place to look for used tools. Just spend some time acquainting yourself with some of the brands. Look on that popular auction site for stuff too, sometimes there is a deal.
  16. Finnrodder
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,965

    from Finland

    2X for that.Expensive tools doesnt improve your skills,but you dont have to buy same tools at every month.One of my favourite tool is Ingersoll mini angle grinder.Its a great tool for finishing welding seams.If you have an air compressor,i recommend to get one.

    edit: I forget to say that i use 3M roloc discs with the angle grinder.Its useful tool with polishing too..
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  17. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,408


    You don't need a huge collection of tools, you need to work on your car! It is only when you are actually doing the work that you realize which tools you need, which tools you'd like to have but can do without, and which tools you'll never touch.

    I built my first car (the '53 in my avatar) with just a cheap MIG, a cheap compressor, and basic hand tools.
    I now own a better MIG, a much bigger/better compressor, a few more hammers and dollys, a band saw, and a shrinker/stretcher. Those were all things that jumped out during the build as the "I gotta get a..." tools. But I know that I don't really need a plasma cutter or an English wheel and happily put that money toward parts for my current build instead. Don't collect tools for the sake of having them, buy the tools you need to do what you do!
  18. oldiron63
    Joined: Dec 13, 2007
    Posts: 425


    A lot of good information to get you started. I've had great luck with Swap Meets.
  19. msalamanca
    Joined: May 25, 2011
    Posts: 526


    I appreciate everyones response.
    I do have a shoebox project. there is a link in my sig. Although I am going to redo everything that I have done already, and do a frame off.
    Also am working on a 51 Chevy sedan for a friend, and have a hand full of cars lines up for the year to do.
    I use to have many tools when I was into the trade years ago, but had to sale 90% of them due to moving and spending my time on the road playing music and that was my focus. Now that I am not doing that anymore, I want to get back into doing customs and restorations.
    The reason why I ask about electric in some things, or shears is I am doing it out of my garage, and have a full time job. So I need to be as silent as possible to not get the neighbors after me, even they are cool with what I do, I dont want to make things bad.
    I dont want the cheapest tools, but want to put my money where it counts.
  20. msalamanca
    Joined: May 25, 2011
    Posts: 526


    Totally understand that the expensive doesnt make a good fabricator.
    Learned this when my friend and myself bought more acoustic guitars one day for the heck of it.
    He bought a cheap one ($100) I bought a $500 dollar one. I poked a joke at his cheap guitar, and he said I can still play this cheap guitar better then you ever could (which is true, one of the best guitarist I have met), I am a bassist lol.

    So for example, I am not going to go buy a 1-3000 dollar English wheel when I dont know how to really use one. I was given a HF english wheel, and its perfect to learn on. I can always upgrade later.
  21. BornBuick
    Joined: Jan 2, 2010
    Posts: 255



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